Proud carvers: Geir Dalene (to the left) and Jay Haavik showing off their magnificent carvings. To the right is boat builder Egil Sagerøy. (Photo: Jørgen Kirsebom)
Our eminent woodcarvers Jay Haavik and Geir Dalene have just about finished the dragon head and dragon tail. The dragon tail was recently tested on the aft stern.
Nobody knows for sure how the top of the stern was constructed on the original ship. That part was missing when the Oseberg ship was excavated in the summer of 1904.
However, on the fore stem the archaeologists found the famous Oseberg curl that finishes up in a dragon's head. The dragon's snout is missing, but it has been reconstructed by comparing it with similar carvings from the finds.
When a dragon has a head, it's logical to think it also had a tail – which explains the reconstruction on the upper part of the aft stern. It has been quite a challenge for our shipbuilders to find a good solution for securing the head and tail to the stems, as this was not clear on the original. The solution that Thomas Finderup and the other boat builders have arrived at is in accordance with the remaining original parts, or as close as possible.
Jay Haavik (carved the dragon's head) and Geir Dalene (carved the tail) are rightly proud of their handicraft. Both are magnificent pieces of work.
Trial mounting: Thomas Finderup (to the left) and Jay Haavik trying out the mounting for the dragon's tail. Notice that the "tingle” (the carved piece under the mounting for the dragon's head) is now in place. (Photo: Johan Eftevåg)